A Florida’s sheriff’s office has a secret list of over 400 children that they feel might fall into a life of crime. It is so secret the children and the parents do not even know which children are on the list. A child can be placed on the list for missing school 3 times, getting a D or worse on a report card, discipline issues at school, and abuse at home.

The Sheriff’s Office said in a written statements that the list is used to only help deputies assigned to the schools that offer ‘mentorship’ and ‘resources’ to students. They highlighted specific programs where school resource officers take students fishing and give others clothes when in need.  While they offered support for both the children and their families, school resource officers also questioned several about local crimes and arrested those who violated curfew or probation, news reported at the time.

Experts in law enforcement and student privacy called the program highly unusual adding that it stretched the limits of the law and was a misuse of children’s confidential information.

I understand why a list like this could be beneficial. Maybe the police can intervene with a child headed down the wrong path. However, the fact that the list is kept secret from not only the children but also the parents raises concerns. The expression goes it takes a village to raise a child. I’d like to think the parents and the child are part of that village.

We have also seen too many hackings. Too many abuses of power. Too much profiling by the police. Transparency helps with a lot of that. The idea of a secret police list is chilling. Makes me wonder who else they are watching and why.

And to let’s be honest…getting a D in a class is not hard to do. It can happen to anyone. Same with being absent three times. I am sure they can be used as part of a picture of a student who may be struggling but certainly not someone who looks to be headed for a life of crime.

I am all for helping children in trouble but are the police our best option for that? I’d prefer to see social workers take on this role. I certainly do not want the parents left out of this. If the parents are abusive all the more reason why a social worker should take the lead.

For my money, only Santa should have a secret list of who is naughty and who is nice.

We will discuss this and more on Tuesday’s Davin’s Den.


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